December 2007


Happy 2008 new year all. 

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ps. the Chinese do it better.  This year, there will be events in Nottingham on the 9th 10th February, celebrating the new year of the Rat.

Sam, my son, came to visit for a couple of days. Nice to see him again. ‘My, how he’s grown’. Currently to do with Bassline Circus, tol3, Free-kuency-festival crew & totalresistance. He’s a sound system and lighting/projection bod.

Currently based in Portugal and earlier in Orgiva, Spain ….. He has followed so many other, ex-traveller types,  getting out of the UK,  after the anti-gathering laws occured. Personally, although I don’t get to see him as often as I would like ….. But, I’m glad he has left, because I think in the UK, they would have locked him up by now.

He’s told me they have a convoy mission, overland to India, later in the year. I love him muchly, and wish him well.

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 So as not to leave anyone out ….. My daughter and 3 grandchildren.  I guess I’ll put up more of these in time, but still trying to sort lots to upload yet.

This short film is about the young people who were born into the free festival scene that flowered and bloomed through a counterculture in 80’s Britain. From the Stonehenge free festival to the merging of the so called ‘New Age Traveller’s’ and the underground dance scene at Castlemorton and beyond these kids have lived a unique life of ups and downs, grown up in freedom and felt the violent force of the state – Operation Solstice: The Battle of the Beanfield. They have seen the negative effects of laws tailored to curb and their lifestyle in the form of amendments to the Public Order Act and later the new Criminal Justice Act which criminalised their existence. This coupled with the over commercialisation of the UK festival scene that their families dedication helped to create has left the second generation of New Travelers kids with an uncertain future… Until now…. Site4Life.

They say –  Site4life are 2nd and 3rd generation new travellers who have an amazing amount of talent in making music, performance and art. They have grown up surrounded by festivals and free parties which their parents helped create. This new generation are looking for a positive future.
As a group we will travel and perform at Festivals and local community projects.
We also have plans to build a mobile recording studio. The aim of Site4Life is education for our youth and chances to show case their talent.
We hope to build bridges into mainstream culture for these new travellers.

http://site-4-life.org

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

May you have a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the new year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make Christmas a joyful occasion celebrated throughout western civilisation, and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, choice of computer platform, or sexual orientation of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. 

· This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. 
· It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. 
· It implies no promise of the wisher to actually implement the wishes for her/himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher.
· This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and said warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

So ……… there you ‘ave it.

Happy Christmas all

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Tues 1 Jan – Thurs 31 Jan, Climate Camp: ‘Time 2 Act’ : How 2,500 people got together to call for an end to aviation expansion and work out solutions for a lower-impact society. A digital photographic exhibition showing on small screens at the Broadway.

The photographers from climate camp have an exhibition based around large photographic display boards with text. It opened in London at the end of October and will be touring.
 
Based on their work there will be a digital photographic exhibition on tv screens in the broadway from 1st-31st Jan.
They are also up for bringing their work to events with wider submissions/installations, presentations and so forth.
In London there were speakers and an open discussion, and the event was recorded and broadcasted on the radio.
Leeds are hosting it in the first half of February.

View work from the contributing photographers.

A (very) misty morning in Woodthorpe Park, Sherwood, Nottingham. Sometimes you have to get up really early to capture this atmosphere.

Today though, it wasn’t necessary, since it stayed like this, all bloody day.

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“He who seeks to know himself in the universe

is as one who gazes at his own reflection in the warm waters of the oasis,

after the camels have been”

………. anon

I used to regularly go to Stonehenge, both winter and summer.  To celebrate with others the cosmic events of the solstice.  But, in recent years, English Heritage, and other agencies, have created ‘managed access events’ that I don’t feel I have anything in common with. They are not the gatherings they were.

Solstice happens everywhere, and I can still observe it,  in my own quiet ways …… wherever I am.

If the science of what is going on is important to you,  one of the best sites I’ve found in explaination is here: 

http://www.archaeoastronomy.com

Useful also for the precise timings of this and other cosmic events.

 Anyway, HAPPY SOLISTICE all.  A far more significant event than all this Christmas stuff.

Archaeoastronomy 1

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 This year, the cusp of the Winter Solstice actually occurs at 06:08 22nd December

Over recent years, government has passed legislation to allow the citizen to get a copy of information, held by  public authorities on policy issues [general matters], and about the individual [only yourself as an individual].

Data Protection Act 1998

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980029.htm

Freedom of Information Act 2000

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/20000036.htm

Environmental Information Regulations 2004

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/eir/guidance/index.htm

Now although there are lots of “ifs, buts, maybes and perhaps’s” ….. dotted about within the legislation, they are useful for gathering information, that up to only a few years ago, was very hard to access.  They are all designed for the ordinary citizen to be able to get information to help keep ‘big brother’ in some kind of check.

Further, to empower the individual, through access to information, to hold those in power to account on many issues. They are all vastly underused by ordinary folks, but they have become a standard tool of journalism.  There are frequently many news items on TV or newspaper that start with the words:

“according to information obtained by the media under the Freedom of Information Act, we have discovered such and such about the subject ……. >”.

I encourage all, who are concerned about issues to make greater use of these facilities. I believe it one of the better things that the current government have done. Please use them.

I guess firstly, there should be some pre-amble on what each is for. 

The Freedom of Information Act 2000

The Freedom of Information Act had come into force from 1st Jan 2005. It is only part of the new openness package. There is also the Environmental Information Regulations (EIRs),

Application for information under this act is free.  It applies to all public bodies and authorities in the UK. 

You should use this, when wanting to know matters of policy and generally what they’re up to, why, and how much ‘it’ costs. What research has been done, what are the implications and what are you going to do next?

There are ‘get-out’ clauses in the wording, like exceptions for ‘commercially sensitive’ information, national security implications, costs of complying with your requests and many others. Don’t then just give up! But, without giving you a full run-down here, if refused you can then make other applications asking for the same information over shorter time scales for example. Doesn’t always work, but, be creative in rewording, and go round again and try. You should receive a reply, the information requested, or an explanation of why not within 20 days.

The Environmental Information Regulations are similar in status and all the above applies.

They implement an EU directive, that came into force at the same time as the FOI. These provide a more powerful right to information about pollution, conservation, the natural environment, land use, road building, genetically modified organisms, air and water-borne diseases, food contamination, financial and many other issues. The regulations include the utilities and private contractors acting on behalf of a public authority.

Data Protection Act 1998

Now, coming to the Data Protection Act. The object is to enable the citizen to check what information is held about them by a public body or authority, and to further check that the information is accurate. Hence, you apply under this act for information about yourself as an individual.  You may not apply for information about anyone else.

Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998 states that a “data subject” (the person about whom the personal data refers) is entitled, upon written request, to be informed whether or not personal data is held or processed about them.

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Section 7 of the Data Protection Act 1998

Rights of data subjects and others

7 Right of access to personal data (1) Subject to the following provisions of this section and to sections 8 and

9, an individual is entitled-

(a) to be informed by any data controller whether personal data of which that individual is the data subject are

being processed by or on behalf of that data controller,

(b) if that is the case, to be given by the data controller a description of-

(i) the personal data of which that individual is the data subject,

(ii) the purposes for which they are being or are to be processed, and

(iii) the recipients or classes of recipients to whom they are or may be disclosed,

(c) to have communicated to him in an intelligible form-

(i) the information constituting any personal data of which that individual is the data subject, and

(ii) any information available to the data controller as to the source of those data, <snip> ……

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http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/ukpga_19980029_en_3#pt2-l1g7

This is making a ‘Subject Access Request’. Now, you might want to check on your own criminal record, driving convictions, parking tickets, council tax records, medical information, I mean, they know lots about us, don’t they?

But, a main object here is perhaps to use it to look into our surveillance.  It is the way I have exercised my right, to take a peek!

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surveillance webtech

Two areas of interest here are the CCTV systems we live life under now-a-days and the police teams we find at public events, demonstrations, protests, festivals, while being a minority group etc …….

With respect to CCTV, there is not a uniform pattern of ownership in the UK. Here in Nottingham, the city cameras are owned and administered by Nottingham City Council.

Surveillance of Nottingham city centre:

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2006/03/335022.html

This gives a flavour of the nature of the machine. There is then co-operation between the City council operations and the police in their use.

Generally speaking, there should be a plate, publicly viewable, with the contact details / number of the ‘data controller’ for the system. So, if inclined to see video of yourself, walking across the Market Square on a Saturday afternoon, surveyed by the numerous cameras there, then your application would be to Nottingham City Council. You would do so on the form [links below] stating details like times, dates, locations, and your appearance.

The Data Controller, a designated person within their operation would then have to record your application, identify you and so as to make sure that no other personal data about anyone else present within the frame, would have to go through a technical procedure to ‘blob-out’ all others that appear. A time-consuming and expensive procedure!

Ownership of these systems is different throughout the country and so please make sure you know which authority is responsible for the cameras operations.

With the police, things are a little more obvious. The uniform gives it away. Mostly, they are clearly policemen, but sometimes civilians working for the police. These will be accompanied.

If you’re at events, say you are lawfully protesting on an issue, you’re not breaking the law and yet you are photographed or videoed by officers. May I suggest the following:

1.  Stay calm. Do not be rude or physically obstructive. [charges under public law frequently then ensue].

2.  Note, time, date, and place, this should include what police force area are you in.

3.  Note the force, the surveillance officer is from. Not always the same as your location.

4.  If you can also note the officers shoulder number, and if you’re up for it photograph the officers yourself. [helpfully including force badge and number]. If you’re not, then a simple note on paper.

5.  Some policemen, sent into the field for intelligence gathering are quite chatty.  Who are you with then? Where do you come from? Do you do this sort of thing much? Nice weather were having …. oh and so on. I am always polite, but do not engage.

6.  Shortly after incident, make a brief note of the info above, together with a few paragraphs on the circumstances.

7.  When back at base, if you have internet access, call up the police force website for where you were. There is a ‘map index’ of uk forces at: http://www.police.uk/forces.htm  If not on the internet, ring a police station and ask for the address of the ‘Data Controller’ at the force HQ.

8.  All forces have a different website layout, but all have either ‘data protection’ or ‘freedom of information’ links from the front page.  They all then contain standard guidance for the application your making, and you should find a ‘forms’ link where you can download the application form, usually as a PDF for you to print out.  There will also be a direct contact phone number if you need further assistance.  Fill out the info above on the form.

9.  They ask for proof of identity. They must do this, or you might ask for the personal info on someone else. [this is not allowed]. They also ask for a photo of you, the subject!  This is the scary bit for many folks.  However, you are asking them for copies of your image, taken by them, I have never understood what the problem is here. They already have it!

10.  Stick the whole thing in an envelope and send, recorded delivery post, to the address instructed. It costs £10 and you should expect to receive the video, photos, notes of what you asked for, within 40 days.

Links

Data Protection Act 1998  http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts1998/19980029.htm

Freedom of Information Act 2000  http://www.opsi.gov.uk/acts/acts2000/20000036.htm

Environmental Info Regs 2004  http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/opengov/eir/guidance/index.htm

Information and encouragement to use the Freedom of Information Act 2000

http://indymedia.org.uk/en/regions/nottinghamshire/2005/10/325499.html

Nottinghamshire Police: Freedom of Information:  http://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/freedom

Nottinghamshire Police: Application form:

http://www.nottinghamshire.police.uk/uploads/library/73/FOI%20request%20form.pdf

Nottinghamshire City Council: Data Protection

http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/sitemap/services/council_government_and_democracy/information_governance/data_protection.htm

Nottinghamshire City Council: Freedom of Information Act

http://www.nottinghamcity.gov.uk/sitemap/freedom_of_information

Metropolitan Police: Data Protection  http://www.met.police.uk/dataprotection

Metropolitan Police: Data Protection Application form

http://www.met.police.uk/dataprotection/forms/3019a.pdf

‘Map index’ of uk forces at: http://www.police.uk/forces.htm

UK FOIA requests – Spy Blog  http://www.spy.org.uk/foia

Campaign for Freedom of Information  http://www.cfoi.org.uk/

Information Commissioner monitors and supervises the implementation of the Acts 

http://www.informationcommissioner.gov.uk/

Complaint Form [if the authority doesn’t comply with your request]

http://www.ico.gov.uk/upload/documents/library/data_protection/forms/ico-datap-how2comp-form.pdf

FIT Watch  http://www.fitwatch.blogspot.com/

Forward Intelligence Teams – FIT operate under the Public Order Intelligence Unit (CO11) at New Scotland Yard and has responsibility for collating and disseminating intelligence.

http://www.met.police.uk/publicorder/intelligence.htm    Their website content is a little sparse!

Met Police: Overt Filming / Photography Leaflet

http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2007/02/363276.html

American Judicial Decision: NYPD Spy Tactics Exposed: Democracy Now! Airs Exclusive Police Surveillance Footage Recorded From Blimps, Helicopters and “Lipstick Cams” During Republican National Convention Monday, February 19th, 2007

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/02/19/1545225&mode=thread&tid=25

Watch 128k stream       http://play.rbn.com/?url=demnow/demnow/demand/2007/feb/video/dnB20070219a.rm&proto=rtsp&start=46:16

Watch 256k stream http://play.rbn.com/?url=demnow/demnow/demand/2007/feb/video/dnB20070219a.rm&proto=rtsp&start=46:16

 

Check out this:  http://www.troika.uk.com/sms-guerrilla-projector.htm

I saw a piece this evening on Current TV, the Goggle digital TV channel.  They did a ‘pod’ piece on the SMS Guerilla Projector and it’s application, not only for commercial purposes, but also street protest and the like.

I have seen projectors used to project imagery on public buildings, and this does seem an interesting progression.
            
The SMS Guerilla Projector is a home made, fully functioning device that enables the user to project text based SMS messages in public spaces, in streets, onto people, inside cinemas, shops, houses…

Small, portable, and battery operated, the SMS Guerilla Projector contains a mobile phone which enables the device to receive and project messages from other people.

The SMS Guerilla Projector is made by recombining available technologies. As an open object, the projector generates a wide range of applications, allowing the user to display messages and share his reflections.

Its unpredictability creates a very special and disturbing experience for the people who watch the projection, and invites them to reflect on the content or the implications of the message.The images below show actual examples of projected messages.

If you are interested to use the SMS Guerrilla Projector, please visit : http://www.troika.uk.com/troika%20communications%20index.htm

Example commercial application
http://www.troika.uk.com/thestreets.htm

The current TV pod is at:  http://current.com/topics/77303151_sms_guerrila_projector

Work has been continuing at EcoWorks with the Straw Bale building. The wall having been compressed, the wooden top-plates in position and the whole issue strapped down as described in part #24.

From the 13 – 16th December, we had a bit of a final spurt of activity in trying to get the building to a state, when it could be covered over for a bit of a winter interval.

Beams fixed over the kitchen area span. Care taken to uniformally support the weight of the covering boards and lining. It will eventually have to support a thin-ish turf roof. Like the main part of the building.

Thus, at the completion of this part of the roof, the building is now fully enclosed in its structure. There will be additional measures taken to reinforce the structure in the new year. Then the principle remaining items on the list will be:

window frames
door
rendering of the outside walls
rendering of the interior walls
paint job
opening party ………

but I guess this still a little way off yet!

So, dear readers, if you have enjoyed watching the progress of this building being constructed ….. how about getting out from behind your computer screen, and get up to EcoWorks in the new year, and volunteer your services.

All could have been done a lot earlier, if a bunch of ‘already-skilled’ people had just got on with it. But, it was generally descided that by involving many volunteers, folks might go away, and having been inspired by the project, and with a bit of hands-on experience ……. have ideas and help others think about what they could do with other sustainable projects in their own areas.

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Ecoworks is on the Hungerhills allotment site, reached off Ransom Road, St.Anns …..
If needed, they can provide transport from the city centre by arrangement. Ring Tim on 07719 428187 for more info.
Hot drinks supplied; please bring your lunch.

Ecoworks
info@ecoworks.org.uk
http://www.ecoworks.org.uk

>>>>

‘Collected’
set of pictures on Flickr :: Straw Bale Building @ St Anns

The story so far, Described on Indymedia:
EcoWorks: Straw Bale work on “eco-building” in St.Anns

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More to follow, i guess …….. >

Guess it that time of year then.  Class-fulls of kids doing xmas cards, sparkley stuff and plastic antlers etc.

Here is an example from mine ……. cute eh 🙂

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To Grandad Tash - Ebba Drawing 1

To Grandad Tash - Ebba Drawing 2

To Grandad Tash

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The UN-sponsored climate change conference held on the Indonesian island of Bali ended on the weekend without any agreement on combatting global warming other than vague generalities. A last-minute, face-saving communiqué was issued but, at the insistence of the Bush administration and its allies, it made no mention of specific carbon emission reduction targets. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had recommended a cut in carbon emissions of 25 to 40 percent in the advanced industrial countries by 2020 and a total world emissions reduction of 50 percent by 2050.

More than 10,000 delegates, lobbyists, scientists and bureaucrats from 180 countries participated in the Bali conference. The event was the first of a series of international summits scheduled over the next two years, which are to determine a successor agreement to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol due to expire in 2012. All of those present paid lip service to the need for concerted action to avert a global environmental calamity, but each national delegation was primarily concerned to defend its own narrow economic interests.

Deep divisions between the major powers dominated the conference. The European powers, together with China, India and other emerging industrial countries, pressed for the inclusion of a reference to the IPCC emission targets in the final statement. The Bush administration—which never ratified Kyoto and has adamantly refused to agree to binding carbon cuts—led a bloc of countries including Japan, Canada, and Australia, which rejected this and also demanded that so-called developing countries be issued emission targets. (These countries are currently exempt under Kyoto.)

In the end, the Bali statement attempted to fudge all the disputed issues. After acknowledging that evidence of climate change was “unequivocal” and that “deep cuts in global emissions will be required”, conference delegates endorsed “quantified emission limitation and reduction objectives” for developed countries without specifying any targets. The question of whether undeveloped economies would be assigned emissions targets was similarly left unanswered. Delegates agreed that “nationally appropriate mitigation actions” should be developed for China, India, Brazil and the other emerging industrial countries, “supported by technology and enabled by financing and capacity-building”. Exactly what will be done—particularly relating to the transfer of technology and finance from the advanced capitalist countries—remains unclear and is subject to further negotiation between the participating countries.

Even this very limited statement was in doubt. The conference was supposed to finish on Friday, but in the absence of an agreement, the reportedly acrimonious talks continued well into the weekend. Only after all reference to specific emissions targets was dropped did Washington sign on. Even at the last minute, US delegates threatened to halt everything because they were dissatisfied with a minor amendment included by India regarding the transfer of “green” technologies to developing countries. Other delegates loudly booed the American team, which then withdrew its opposition to the amendment in the face of this hostility.

Sections of the US and international media presented the decision as a significant shift and even a “u-turn” on Washington’s part. Several members of the European delegation claimed the final communiqué was a victory on the grounds that the Bush administration signed on to the “road map” that would lead to a new agreement. Nothing could be further from the truth. Shortly after the end of the conference, the White House released a statement that reiterated Bush’s long standing positions and made clear that the Bali statement changed nothing.

Several climate scientists expressed disappointment with the outcome. “We could have moved on from here with a confident range of future cuts,” the University of Washington’s Andrew Light told the New York Times. “Instead we have to move on with the same continued uncertainty. At the beginning of the week I was really heartened by the public praise the US delegation was giving to the IPCC and now I can’t help but think, was it all lip service?”

Angus Friday, Grenada’s UN ambassador and chair of the Alliance of Small Islands, said: “We are ending up with something so watered-down there was no need for 12,000 people to gather here in Bali. We could have done that by email.” The Alliance of Small Islands is a grouping of low-lying island nations that face inundation from rising sea levels.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had earlier issued clear cut warnings of the grave and immediate threat posed by global warming. More than 200 climate scientists involved in the IPCC research issued an open letter to the Bali delegates pleading for urgent action. “The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now far exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years, and it is rising very quickly due to human activity,” the letter explained. “If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.”

The European powers and the international carbon industry

Washington has again drawn international condemnation for its position on climate change. Ever since coming to office, the Bush administration has sought to protect the interests of its close allies in the US oil industry by playing down the scientific evidence for climate change and refusing to ratify the Kyoto protocol. American intransigence has allowed the European powers to posture as serious advocates for the world’s environment. However, the stance of Europeans is driven just as much by short-term economic self-interest.

The EU based its preferred targets on the IPCC report, which itself is outdated, relying on an assessment of scientific studies published only up to mid-2006. Additional evidence released in recent months indicates that climate change is far more advanced than was previously realised and requires far greater emissions cuts. Greenhouse gas emissions are rising faster than even the worst-case IPCC scenarios forecast. While carbon dioxide emissions increased by 1.1 percent a year from 1990-1999, they grew by more than 3 percent from 2000 to 2004. This enormous increase, which testifies to the failure of the Kyoto Protocol to address the climate change crisis, threatens to trigger irreversible climate change “multipliers”.

One of these potential multipliers is the melting of the Arctic ice cap, which is proceeding far more rapidly than the IPCC realised. Scientists this week warned that Arctic ice could completely melt during summer as soon as 2013. Recent studies have established that the melting of the polar ice caps is not a gradual, linear process but instead flips from one state to another as temperature increases lead to a qualitative transformation in the structure of polar ice sheets. Scientists from NASA, Colombia University and the University of California published a paper in May showing that when temperatures rose to 2-3 degrees Celsius above today’s level, 3.5 million years ago, sea levels rose by 25 metres. The study concluded by warning that the Earth was in “imminent peril” and stated that without major emissions cuts, “devastating sea-level rise will inevitably occur”. This process, should it ever occur, will only compound the problem of global warming. An absence of polar ice means that heat previously refleced back into space will be absorbed by the world’s earth and oceans, leading to a cycle of further heat absorption and warming.

The precise level of emission cuts required to prevent dangerous global warming is not known. One scientific study published this year in the Geophysical Research Letters journal concluded that even with a 90 percent cut in global emissions by 2050, the generally agreed threshold of tolerable global warming—a 2 degree Celsius rise above pre-industrial level—would eventually be broken. Some scientists have warned that what is required is nothing less than the immediate transition to a “decarbonised” world economy.

None of the major delegations to the Bali conference raised this possibility. That the European powers stuck with the outdated emission reduction recommendations points to the fact that their position was not driven by genuine concern for the environment. Their real agenda is that of securing the long-term future of the $US30 billion Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) and maintaining Europe’s domination of the world carbon commodity trade.

A joint communiqué issued by more than 150 mostly British and European companies before the Bali conference underscored the enormous economic interests at stake. The statement—signed by executives of companies including Shell, Allianz, HSBC Bank, KPMG, British Airways and Lloyds Bank—demanded the establishment of emission reduction targets, including a 50 percent cut by 2050. The “shift to a low-carbon economy will create significant business opportunities,” the corporate chiefs declared. “New markets for low carbon technologies and products, worth billions of dollars, will be created if the world acts on the scale required … we believe that tackling climate change is the pro-growth strategy.”

The European ETS has emerged as the most lucrative of all the so-called free market mechanisms developed through the Kyoto Protocol. The ETS has done nothing to significantly reduce emissions in Europe, but it has spawned an enormous international market in carbon investment and speculation. Carbon trading involves businesses being allocated emissions “credits” which can be sold to other corporate polluters if their carbon output falls under their allotted “cap”. All the world’s leading banks and financial institutions are now involved in various forms of carbon investment and speculation.

“More than $US60 billion changed hands in the global carbon market this year, double the trade of last year and up from just $US400 million three years ago,” an article in last Saturday’s Sydney Morning Herald titled “Bali’s Business Bonanza” explained. “Analysts estimate the market could be worth $US1 trillion within the next 10 years. By 2030, according to some carbon bulls, it may even be the biggest commodity market in the world, overtaking crude oil.”

The carbon market has rapidly developed into a vast international racket, with an array of subsidiary corporate industries and services. Their representatives played a prominent role in the Bali discussions. The largest single lobby group at the conference was the International Emissions Trading Association, which constituted 7.5 percent of the nearly 4,500 registered non-governmental organisation delegates. More than twice as many carbon trading operatives were present than representatives for the World Wide Fund for Nature and Greenpeace combined.

The carbon trading industry received a major boost through the Bali conference, primarily due to the efforts of the EU delegation. In one of the few concrete measures agreed at the meeting, deforestation will now be tied to the European ETS. A new scheme known as “reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation” (REDD) will allow Europe’s corporate polluters to maintain existing operations, even if they emit more than their allotted cap, provided that they buy additional carbon credits through schemes to supposedly prevent deforestation in undeveloped countries. The plan, which is modelled on the corruption-riddled Clean Development Mechanism, will almost certainly fail to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or halt deforestation. It will, however, generate further profits for the international carbon market. Analysts estimate that carbon credits worth $US10 billion a year could be generated through the REDD scheme in Indonesia alone.

The European powers expect that the enormous profits on offer will lead to a significant shift in the US after Bush leaves office. A similar process in Australia culminated in the Labor government’s ratification of Kyoto. Just as Australian big business repudiated the Howard government’s intransigent stance, so powerful sections of corporate America have concluded that Bush has favoured the fossil fuel industry at the expense of their broader interests. Earlier this year the US Climate Action Partnership—comprised of major corporations including Alcoa, Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Dow Chemical, General Electric, and Rio Tinto—issued a “call to action” to the US president and congress, demanding the establishment of a national carbon trading market based on clear emission targets. The three leading Democratic presidential candidates—Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, and Barack Obama—have all pledged to set up a US carbon-trading scheme, as has Republican challenger John McCain. Other Republicans are yet to make their position clear.

None of the piecemeal and pro-market schemes advanced by the major capitalist powers can resolve the climate change crisis. The entire framework within which the Kyoto and post-Kyoto negotiations have proceeded testifies to the anarchic and anachronistic character of the capitalist system. While the present epoch is marked by the ever-closer integration of the world economy, official discussion on potential solutions to climate change remains posed in terms of national emissions targets.

This has inevitably led to absurdities. If, for example, an American transnational corporation is emitting copious greenhouse gases in a factory located in Mexico, which country is credited with the emissions? Under Kyoto the answer is Mexico. Or if Australian mining companies export enormous supplies of coal, a fossil fuel, to China for electricity generation, which country is held responsible for the resulting carbon combustion? Under Kyoto—China. And what about the emissions generated by international travel? Should ships and planes transporting people and goods add to the tally of national emissions for the country of departure or of origin? Under Kyoto, these emissions are classed as “orphan emissions” and not attributed to any country.

To achieve the reduction in required global carbon emissions, nothing less than the complete reorganisation of the world society and our priorities.  Just what step as individuals should we take?  Is it really good enough just to write to your MP?

Climate negotiations in Bali are in crisis. Things were looking good till now: near-consensus on a delicate deal, including 2020 targets for rich countries, in return for which China and the developing world would do their part over time. IPCC scientists say such targets are needed to prevent catastrophe. But Japan, the US and Canada are banding together to wreck the deal, and the rest of the world is starting to waver…

STOP PRESS – Talks are deadlocked, running over into Saturday. There’s still time. We can’t let three stubborn governments throw away the planet’s future. Please sign our emergency global petition below: we’re delivering it through stunts at the summit, a full-page ad in the Jakarta Post read by all the delegates (below, right), directly to negotiators to stiffen their nerve against any bad compromise. Add your name to the campaign now!

“We call urgently for the US, Canada and Japan to stop blocking serious 2020 targets for emissions reductions, and for the rest of the world to refuse to accept anything less.”

Sign the Petition :: Please go to –

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bali_emergency/98.php?CLICK_TF_TRACK

Climate Wake Up Call

I just signed an emergency petition trying to  save the crucial climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia right now by telling the US, Canada and Japan to stop blocking an agreement. You can sign it here:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bali_emergency/98.php?CLICK_TF_TRACK

Talks are deadlocked, and running into the weekend. Almost all countries have agreed to cut rich country carbon emissions by 2020–which scientists say is crucial to stop catastrophic global warming, and will also help bring China and the developing world onboard. But with just 24 hours left, the US and its close allies Canada and Japan have rejected any mention of such cuts.

We can’t let three governments hold the world hostage and block agreement on this desperate issue.

There’s still 24 hours left to turn this around –  click below to sign the petition – it will be delivered direct to summit delegates, through stunts and in media advertisements, so our voices will actually be heard. But we need a lot of us, fast, to join in if we’re going to make a difference. Just click on the link to add your name:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/bali_emergency/98.php?CLICK_TF_TRACK

Thanks!

 KutaBeach Bali, Indonesia 

600 people participate in a human banner message on Kuta beach in Bali, Indonesia organised by NGOs including Greenpeace and Global Green with aerial artist John Quigley. The two messages read ‘ACT NOW’ and ’11th HOUR’. The image of the world being washed away by climate change, with the words ACT NOW! is a message to the UN climate talks as they enter their critical second week.

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